Saturday, January 19, 2008


DESPITE suffering pain in his hand during a training trip to Portugal, Scottish amateur champion John Gallagher has been assured he should be able to play a full schedule in 2008.
The Swanston New star , pictured right, missed a lot of last season due to a hand injury and, in the end, needed an operation to get his career back on track.
He only started playing again just before Christmas but joined some of Scotland's other leading amateurs in Portugal last week to get in some practice and is off on his travels again on Monday, this time to Morocco.
"I'm starting to get back into the swing of things again," said Gallagher, who, in the circumstances, was as amazed as anyone when he battled the pain barrier to lift the Scottish title at Prestwick last summer.
"Getting away to Quinta da Cima for a training camp with the Scottish Golf Union was great and now I'm really looking forward to a trip to Morocco, where we are playing a match against France.
"My only concern out in Portugal was that I was suffering a bit of pain in my hand, though not in the exact area where I had the trouble last season.
"But, since coming back, I've been to see the physiotherapist that I've been working with over the past few months, and she says that's not really surprising as other parts of my hand would have been compensating for the area that was damaged.
"It's going to be a case of taking each week as it comes and I've got to be careful about not over-doing things but I am confident I'll be able to play a full schedule this year."
As the reigning Scottish amateur champion, Gallagher can look forward to rubbing shoulders with the stars when he plays in the Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond in July.
He's also looking forward to defending his national title at Carnoustie a few weeks later, after which he'll start to gear everything he does towards a switch to the paid ranks.
"My plan is definitely to turn pro at the end of the season," declared the 26-year-old. "I feel I'll be ready then and, having seen the likes of English duo Ross McGowan and Gary Boyd make the switch to the paid ranks over the last couple of years, I honestly feel I can make a living as a Tour professional as well."
In the meantime, Gallagher is happy to be combining his amateur career with promotional work up at Swanston New, where the first phase of an exciting new development has now been completed.
"Our new clubhouse is open and it is absolutely fabulous," he added. "The facilities are great and there's a real buzz about the place, which is tremendous for everyone connected with the club.
"The new holes should be ready about August and, once they are opened along with the practice facilities, then the whole place will be amazing. It's no surprise that Colin McClung and Stewart Snedden, the men behind Swanston Golf Ltd, are really excited about what's happening up there."
During the trip to Portugal, Gallacher broke in a brand-new set of irons and, if early impressions are anything to go by, he, too, is excited about what the future holds.
"After playing with Callaway X14s for five years, I switched to Ping clubs last season and was using a set of s58s when I won the Scottish amateur championship," he said. "I had never been custom-fitted for clubs before but I went down to Ping's HQ at Gainsborough towards the end of last year and now I'm playing with G10s, which are really nice.
"They have different shafts to the ones I was using last year and, while I was understandably a bit rusty at the start of the week out in Portugal, I felt a big improvement by the end of the trip."



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